NEW ORLEANS: (Orleans Parish) Print

Jewish community history and photos. [January 2009]

history of Reform congregations. [January 2009]

history of Orthodox congregations. [January 2009]

 

OVERVIEW OF SOME OF THE JEWISH CONGREGATIONS AND CEMETERIES IN NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 1998, compiled and submitted by Carol Monahan from several sources":


GATES OF MERCY:

  • The Charter and Constitution and Bylaws of the Hebrew Congregation Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah , 1883; Walter B. Moses, Jr., President of the Hebrew Rest Cemetery Association, 1998
  • A Short History of Congregation Gates of Prayer, 1990 )
  • Gates of Mercy, Dispersed of Judah, Touro Synagogue, Temple Sinai, and the Hebrew Rest Cemetery Association Shangarai Chassed (Gates of Mercy) was the first Jewish congregation in New Orleans. Founded by Jacob Solis on December 20, 1827, its members were primarily Jews of German background. Manis Jacobs, a native of Amsterdam, served as the first President and, although it is believed that he had no formal training as such, also assumed the duties of rabbi of the Congregation, a title by which he was known until his death in 1839.
  • In March 1828, Manis Jacobs purchased land in his own name to be used for burial purposes by the Congregation. This property was located on Jackson Street (now Jackson Avenue) at Saratoga Street, within what is presently known as the Garden District of New Orleans. In April of that same year Jacobs turned the property over to the Congregation, after its charter was approved. The synagogue, according to the New Orleans City Directory of 1854, was located on Rampart Street between St. Louis and Conti Streets.
  • The first burial in the Gates of Mercy Cemetery took place in June 1828. The last burial recorded in the original record book was in 1847, roughly coinciding with the opening of a cemetery operated by a newer congregation, Dispersed of Judah (Nefuzoth Jehuda), organized by Spanish-Portugese Jews in 1846 and incorporated in 1847.
  • Judah Touro, a Sephardic Jew, provided funding for construction of a place of worship for this new congregation; the building was known as the Touro Synagogue. It was located, according to the 1854 New Orleans City Directory, on Canal Street corner of Bourbon. Touro also donated property to the Cemetery Association of Dispersed of Judah, which is still in use today as the Dispersed of Judah Cemetery. The property is situated on Canal and Anthony Streets (near the northern boundary of the Mid-City area of New Orleans).
  • The original charter (1827) of Congregation Shangarai Chassed (Gates of Mercy) was renewed 25 years later, in 1852, maintaining the original name of the congregation. Later, in September 1881, the charter was amended to change the name to Congregation Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah, the result of a merger of the two small congregations.
  • It was not until 1937 that the name Touro Synagogue was formally adopted for the merged congregations, replacing the name "Congregation Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah". In 1860, Congregation Shangarai Chassed (Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah) purchased the property in the Gentilly section of New Orleans that is now known as Hebrew Rest Cemetery No.1. In 1872, this property was sold to Congregation Temple Sinai (Reform), at which time all rights to the property were given to the Hebrew Rest Cemetery Association. In 1894 the second square of property, adjacent to the first, was purchased jointly by Congregations Temple Sinai and Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah. This square is now known as Hebrew Rest Cemetery No.2. In 1938, a third square of property, adjacent to the first two, was purchased jointly by the same two congregations. This square is now known as Hebrew Rest Cemetery No. 3. In 1961, Congregation Temple Sinai and Touro Synagogue sold all property, including the Dispersed of Judah Cemetery in Mid-City, to the Hebrew Rest Cemetery Association, under whose auspices the 4 cemeteries operate today.
  • The original record book of the Gates of Mercy Cemetery is housed in the Special Collections/Rare Books section of the Tulane University Library in Jones Hall. The original record books for the Dispersed of Judah Cemetery and the Hebrew Rest Cemeteries are maintained by the Executive Secretary of the Hebrew Rest Cemetery Association and are currently housed at Temple Sinai.
  • Congregation Gates of Prayer and Gates of Prayer Cemeteries:
  • The Congregation of the Gates of Prayer was organized in the Old Lafayette area of New Orleans (now the Garden District) on May 1, 1849 and incorporated in March 1850. A chevra, or benevolent society, had been in existence in the Lafayette area from the 1830Æs. About 40 families got together as early as 1848, adopted the German ritual, and set about founding a synagogue. Early gathering places were those used by the chevra, at Washington and Constance streets, and later at Fifth and Chippewa streets. By 1852, worship was held at Seventh and Tchoupitoulas streets. After this period, a small school located at Fulton and St. Mary streets served as a meeting place until 1856. On April 5, 1857 a cornerstone was laid for a new brick synagogue. Completed in 1860, it was known as the Lafayette Schul, located on Jackson Avenue and Chippewa Street. In 1920, the Congregation moved to Napoleon Avenue (in Uptown New Orleans) and then in the 1970's to the Jefferson Parish suburb of Metairie.
  • For many years the Congregation followed the Orthodox tradition; and the cantor conducted services. At the turn of the century the influence of the Reform movement was felt and in 1806 the first rabbi was engaged.
  • The Gates of Prayer Cemetery on Joseph Street (in the Uptown area of New Orleans) was opened in 1853. Gates of Prayer also took over a cemetery founded by Congregation Tememe Derech, a group of Polish Jews that disbanded in 1903. That cemetery is located on Canal Street at Bernadotte Street near the northern border of the Mid-City area of New Orleans, and was run by a volunteer group until Gates of Prayer took over in 1939. The Tememe Derech burials occupy the same square as Chevra Thillim* (absorbed in 1950) and Gates of Prayer burials; The cemetery property is owned by Gates of Prayer Synagogue, where the cemetery records are housed.
  • *Not to be confused with Chevra Thillim Memorial Park, opened in 1973, at 5000 Bienville Street adjoining the Dispersed of Judah Cemetery.
Touro Synagogue: Congregation Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah changed its name to Touro synagogue in 1937. At AJA . American Jewish Archives, 3101 Clifton Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45220-2488. 513-221-1875 (tel); 513-221-7812 (fax). E-mail: AJA contact form : List of confirmation classes from 1887 through 1959; copy of synagogue's bulletin with a short history of the Hebrew Rest Cemetery, Feb. 1960. SC-13509
THE NEW ORLEANS CEMETERIES:
    • Ahavas Sholem Cemetery: {10802} The cemetery, located at 4400 Elysian Fields across the street from Brother Martin High School, sits in part of a square bounded by Elysian Fields Avenue, Frenchmen, Stephen Girard and Lombard Streets. Contact: 282-3473. Sources: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,  (711 N. Franklin St. York, PA) and PN and  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765,
      Ahavas Sholem, founded in 1895, is one of several benevolent societies that formed near the turn of the century to assist East European Orthodox Jewish immigrants; it provided burials for the poor and needy immigrants. The cemetery, which opened in 1897, is still active and is open to any Orthodox/Traditional Jew, regardless of synagogue affiliation. Three local congregations (Anshe Sfard, Beth Israel and Chevra Thilim) jointly purchased land for the cemetery. Representatives of these 3 organizations manage the cemetery today. Source: Marshall Gerson. 376 names were submitted by  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    • Anshe Sfard Cemetery: 4400 Elysian Fields Ave. The cemetery is located in part of the square bounded by Elysian Fields Avenue, Stephen Girard, Frenchmen and Lombard Streets. Contact: 282-3473. Orthodox congregation founded in 1896 by Russian and Polish Jews who followed the Sephardic ritual
  • Arabella Street Cemetery: See Gates of Prayer No. 1
  • Beth Israel Cemetery No.1 / aka Canal Street Cemetery: Located at 4800 Canal Street at Bernadotte. Congregation Beth Israel, founded in 1904, was the result of a merger of several small Orthodox congregations (including Tememe Derech) earlier formed by Eastern European Jews. (After the merger, the Tememe Derech Cemetery remained open and was run by a group of volunteers until Gates of Prayer took over in 1939.) Beth Israel is one of two Orthodox/Traditional congregations in New Orleans. Records for the Beth Israel Cemeteries can be found by contacting Marshall Gerson, (504) 523-1155 (wk). The incomplete records go back to the 1930's. Source: Denise Feldman Mumphrey This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . There are no records at all for the Beth Israel burials in Beth Israel Cemetery No. 1. With no markers, it is difficult to distinguish one section from another in order to identify burials for each of the 4 congregations that have used this site (Tememe Derech, Beth Israel, Chevra Thilim and Gates of Prayer); source: Marshall Gerson.
  • Beth Israel Cemetery No. 2: Located at 4321 Frenchman St, occupying part of the square bounded by Elysian Fields Avenue, Frenchmen, Stephen Girard and Mandolin Streets. Contact: 282-3473; source: Aaron Roetenberg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (711 N. Franklin St. York, PA). Opened in 1936; source:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765, See Beth Israel Cemetery No. 1 for additional information.
  • Beth Israel Cemetery No. 3: Opened in 1990, the cemetery is located at 4400 Elysian Fields Avenue and occupies part of the square bounded by Elysian Fields Avenue, Frenchmen, Stephen Girard and Lombard Streets. See Beth Israel Cemetery No. 1 for additional information.
  • Canal Street Cemetery: see See Beth Israel No. 1 and Gates of Prayer No. 2
    The Canal Street Cemetery contains the remains of members of four different congregations that owned or maintained the cemetery during four distinct time periods. It is located in the 4800 block of Canal St. next to P. J. McMahon and Sons Funeral Home, in a square bounded by a dead end private street, Canal St., S. Bernadotte Street, and Cleveland Ave. The congregations are Tememe Derech, Beth Israel, Chevra Thilim and Gates of Prayer. See descriptions for each in this section. Burial records are being submitted to the JOWBR under the name "Canal Street Cemetery" with reference to the congregational affiliation of the deceased in the comment section of the record. Source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . [May 2001]
  • Chevra Thilim Cemetery: (absorbed into Gates of Prayer Cemetery on Canal Street, 1950). Source: Eric J. Brock, Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 4800 block of Canal St., Next to P. J. McMahon Funeral Home; source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . See Gates of Prayer No. 2 for description of cemetery. 800 names submitted to IAJGS by Congregation (includes Memorial Park burials).
  • Chevra Thilim Memorial Park: 5000 Iberville St. at Helena St., Iberville St. ends one block before City Park Ave. (Use Bienville to Helena St.); source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This newest and probably smallest Hebrew cemetery in New Orleans opened in 1973 on a tiny triangular piece of land adjoining the Dispersed of Judah Cemetery.
  • Dispersed of Judah Cemetery: 4901 Canal Street; (Upper Canal Street near City Park Avenue) or 4937 Canal St. at North Anthony St. The cemetery opened in 1846 on land purchased and donated by Judah P. Touro, shortly after Spanish-Portuguese Jews organized the Congregation Nefuzoth Yehudah (Dispersed of Judah). A stone was placed in the main aisle of the cemetery in memory of Judah Touro, benefactor of the congregation, who died in 1854. Sources:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765 . Merged with Congregation Gates of Mercy in 1881, the name was changed to Congregation Gates of Mercy of the Dispersed of Judah. In 1937, the name of the congregation was changed to Touro Synagogue. 1439 names submitted to IAJGS by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . See Overview above for additional information.
  • Gates of Mercy Cemetery: (See introduction to New Orleans) This cemetery, which no longer exists, was the first Jewish cemetery in New Orleans. It was located on Jackson Street (now Avenue) and Saratoga Street and was in use from 1829 to 1846. At AJA contact form . American Jewish Archives, 3101 Clifton Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45220-2488. 513-221-1875 (tel); 513-221-7812 (fax). E-mail: AJA contact form : The deed for acquisition of ground for this first cemetery is dated May 26, 1828, SC-13514. 206 names submitted to IAJGS by  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 4628 Fairfield Street, Metairie, LA 70006, (504) 456-2801; . See Overview above for additional information.
  • Gates of Prayer Cemetery No. 1: Located on Joseph Street, between Pitt and Garfield; also known as the Joseph Street Cemetery or the Arabella Street Cemetery. The cemetery of Congregation Sha'aray Tefilev (Gates of Prayer) opened in 1853 in what was then Lafayette City (before annexation by New Orleans). The location is in the uptown area of New Orleans. With approval of the Rabbinic Council, grave sites recently were scanned and tombstones removed from those that were determined to be empty. The removed stones were placed near the fence at the edge of the cemetery. 1346 names submitted to IAJGS by  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . See Overview above for additional information.
  • Gates of Prayer Cemetery No. 2: Located at 4800 Canal Street at Bernadotte, use Bernadotte Street entrance; source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also known as Beth Israel Cemetery and the Canal Street Cemetery. Congregation Gates of Prayer took ownership of this property in 1939. Formerly the Tememe Derech Cemetery, it also contains burials for Congregations Beth Israel and Chevra Thilim.
  • The cemetery is located in a built-up section of the city. The office and records are in the Gates of Prayer Synagogue in Metairie, LA. Cemetery records are in two ledger books, by section, row, and plot number order. No map of the section/row/plot numbers seems to exist. The ledger books contain only names and location information. Cemetery Hours: None are posted but it appears to be open and unlocked at all times. The urban cemetery location on flat land is separate, but near other Christian cemeteries. The cemetery is on a main street, Canal Street. Access to the cemetery is open to all. A continuous fence and a gate that does not lock surround the cemetery. Tombstones in the cemetery are datable from the 19th and 20th centuries. Less than 25% of surviving stones are toppled or broken. The tombstones are flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, horizontally set stones, and flat, low in-ground plaques. Inscriptions on tombstones are in English and Hebrew.
  • The present owner of the cemetery property is Congregation Gates of Prayer. Properties adjacent to the cemetery are commercial or industrial and residential. There is a funeral home on one corner of the square block that has nothing to do with the cemetery. They were friendly and helpful, however. Past maintenance includes re-erection of stones and patching of broken stones. Within the limits of the cemetery is a small brick shed, probably a caretaker's tool shed. The vegetation overgrowth in the cemetery is not a problem. Water drainage at the cemetery is good all year. The cemetery uses underground burial, but some parts of it have sealed concrete surfaces at ground level. New Orleans has a high water table; the sealing is presumably to protect against that.
  • Submitted by: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 1115 Newbury, Champaign, IL 61821, 217/333-7505 (work); 217/352-3164 (home), Vicki Karno at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it may have additional information. Date of completion: Aug. 4, 1997 by H. George Friedman, Jr. who visited the site July 1996. No interviews were conducted. See Overview above for additional information.
  • Website with photos and burial list. [Mar 2014]
  • Hebrew Rest Cemeteries , Numbers 1, 2 and 3: 2100 Pelopidas at Frenchman St., Near Elysian Fields and Gentilly Blvd. The one huge cemetery with three parts has six entries. Pelopidas St is a short street running between St. Anthony and Warrington Sts, near the intersection of Gentilly Blvd and Elysian Fields Ave, close to campus of Dillard University.
    Hebrew Rest #1: {10903} Opened in 1860, #1 contains the remains of the city's first Jewish cemetery (Gates of Mercy) that was located at Jackson Avenue and Saratoga Street in 1828. It contained the pioneer Jews of German background who came to New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase. The cemetery was demolished in 1957. The site was used to build a playground. Sources:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (711 N. Franklin St. York, PA) and  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765, . See page 06564 in Cemeteries of the US . Deborah M. Burek, ed. Gale Research Int., Detroit MI (1994) ISBN 0-8103-9245-3. Source: Al Rosenfield, Columbus OH;  .
    Records for Hebrew Rest 1, 2, and 3 are housed at Temple Sinai Reform Congregation, 6227 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118, Phone: (504) 861-3693, att: Mr. Barton. The 3 Hebrew Rest cemeteries each occupy a full city block, one next to the other, separated by actual, named city streets. Each is individually fenced and gated. They are known here distinctly as Hebrew Rest #1, Hebrew Rest #2 and Hebrew Rest #3. H.R. #1, which faces a main thoroughfare (Elysian Fields), has the name Hebrew Rest in wrought iron over the large main gate. Hebrew Rest #1 opened in 1860 and #2 opened in 1894. The records in the ledger are in separate sections for cemetery #1 burials and cemetery #2 burials. The burial records for # 3 (the newest, which also contains a mausoleum) are in a separate ledger altogether. Source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . See Overview above for additional information.
  • Jefferson Memorial Gardens: 4200 River Rd., On River Road (Eastbank) approximately six miles past William Blvd. and 2 1/2 miles past Hwy. 50 Junction; Jewish and non-Jewish cemetery; source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Jewish Burial Rites Society Cemetery: opened in 1936; located at 4321 Frenchmen St., occupies part of a square bounded by Elysian Fields Avenue, Frenchmen, Stephen Girard and Mandolin Streets; sources:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765, The cemetery is fenced and gated, open every day except Saturday, and is well maintained. 274 names submitted to IAJGS by  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 4628 Fairfield Street, Metairie, LA 70006, (504)456-2801;
  • Metairie Cemetery: 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., New Orleans LA (This is on turf that used to be home to an infamous race track.) Old and new Jewish Sections (c1880 and 1925, respectively) are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, 1991. Source:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765, "In 1884, Michel Frank, Isidore Newman, Julius Weis and 37 other members of Temple Sinai Reform Congregation purchased 40 lots in Metairie Cemetery as a Jewish burial ground. One of the lots was given to Rabbi James Koppel Gutheim and he was the first to be buried in the new cemetery." Source: Jubilee Souvenir of Temple Sinai, 1872 - 1922, compiled by Rabbi Max Heller, New Orleans, 1922.
  • Nefuzoth Jehudah Cemetery: See Dispersed of Judah
  • Shaari Chasset Cemetery: See Gates of Mercy and Overview above for additional information
  • Shaary Tefilev Cemetery: See Gates of Prayer. started 1850; source: Eric J. Brock, Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765
  • Tememe Derech Cemetery: (renamed Gates of Prayer Cemetery, 1939). 4800 block of Canal Street. Founded in 1858, the cemetery opened in 1864. The founding congregation, a Polish group, disbanded in 1903 so a volunteer group ran the cemetery until 1939. In that year, Congregation Gates of Prayer absorbed the cemetery and renamed it Gates of Prayer. Also called: Chevra Thilim or Beth Israel; sources: PN and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765.  See Overview for additional information.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 17:12